The eurozone is in serious trouble and Greece is just a symptom. Whether or not they default on their debt may not matter as similar problems plague Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and even Italy. The European Monetary Union is built on a house of cards and they don't have the time for needed radical reforms. Like all sovereigns who owe more than they can pay, they will resort to monetary inflation to bail themselves out. This article explains how the EMU works, why it is failing, and why they will resort to fiat money printing to solve it.
Goldman's business model is designed around the exploitation of secrecy. Secrecy is organizing principle that governs modern credit markets. Credit default swaps, privately placed structured securitizations (e.g. CDOs), and hedge funds have all flourished-- they dominate the debt markets--because they are all designed to exploit secrecy. They all create extraordinary profits by keeping the rest of us in the dark. So in late 2006, if you wanted to find out what was happening in this newly created synthetic RMBS market, you couldn't find out much of anything. You couldn't find out anything about who bought or sold any CDO, or what was in any CDO, or how any CDO performed, unless Goldman or some other CDO underwriter deemed you sufficiently worthy of their selective disclosures. You couldn't learn anything from the sales or trading activity of mortgage bonds, because the related trading in credit default swaps was kept hidden beneath the surface. You didn't know anything about the trading activity related to the ABX indices, since that, also, was kept secret. And since the privately-held company that owned the ABX, CDS IndexCo LLC, operated in total secrecy, and since the privately-held company that published the price of the ABX, Markit Group Limited , operated in total secrecy, you had no way of knowing the extent to which the price of the ABX was manipulated through round-tripping, side deals with synthetic CDOs, or anything else. The only thing you knew, your only link to the illusory "reality " of market sentiment, was the quoted price of the ABX. And you might happen to know that the Chairman of CDS IndexCo was Brad Levy, a managing director at Goldman, which, along with a handful of other banks, controlled CDS IndexCo and Markit Group. Both the FCIC and the Levin subcommittee disclosed a wealth of information that others with a more skeptical bent can scrutinize in depth. This information poses a direct challenge to Goldman's dissembling, and to the moral hazard of access journalism, which is no substitute for the full transparency of a free and open marketplace of ideas.
Anything to me is sweeter--
Than to see this pompous pig faced PIIG sausage eater!
Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The Domestic Economy, Or Explaining Where All The QE2 Money WentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/11/2011 23:25 -0500
Courtesy of the recently declassified Fed discount window documents, we now know that the biggest beneficiaries of the Fed's generosity during the peak of the credit crisis were foreign banks, among which Belgium's Dexia was the most troubled, and thus most lent to, bank. Having been thus exposed, many speculated that going forward the US central bank would primarily focus its "rescue" efforts on US banks, not US-based (or local branches) of foreign (read European) banks: after all that's what the ECB is for, while the Fed's role is to stimulate US employment and to keep US inflation modest. And furthermore, should the ECB need to bail out its banks, it could simply do what the Fed does, and monetize debt, thus boosting its assets, while concurrently expanding its excess reserves thus generating fungible capital which would go to European banks. Wrong. Below we present that not only has the Fed's bailout of foreign banks not terminated with the drop in discount window borrowings or the unwind of the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, but that the only beneficiary of the reserves generated were US-based branches of foreign banks (which in turn turned around and funnelled the cash back to their domestic branches), a shocking finding which explains not only why US banks have been unwilling and, far more importantly, unable to lend out these reserves, but that anyone retaining hopes that with the end of QE2 the reserves that hypothetically had been accumulated at US banks would be flipped to purchase Treasurys, has been dead wrong, therefore making the case for QE3 a done deal. In summary, instead of doing everything in its power to stimulate reserve, and thus cash, accumulation at domestic (US) banks which would in turn encourage lending to US borrowers, the Fed has been conducting yet another stealthy foreign bank rescue operation, which rerouted $600 billion in capital from potential borrowers to insolvent foreign financial institutions in the past 7 months. QE2 was nothing more (or less) than another European bank rescue operation!
The Unwind Begins: Eurogroup President Juncker Redirects From A Broke Europe By Throwing US And Japan Under The Insolvency Bus: "The Debt Level Of The USA Is Disastrous"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/11/2011 13:32 -0500
The first rule of media (especially when dealing with an idiot audience that has a 7 second attention span): when all else fails, redirect. That's precisely what Eurogroup president, and certified, sanctimonious, pompous liar, Jean-Claude Juncker just did today, as it is becoming increasingly clear that nobody in Europe has any clue just what the Greek bailout #2 will look like now that the ECB and Germany are at polar opposites on how to proceed, the ECB thinks it is a rating agency and can dictate what an Event of Default is, and German bankers are willing to cede to private involvement in the bailout, but in a way that is voluntary. The problem is that these three are very much mutually exclusive. So what does Juncker go ahead and do - he redirects to highlighting the problems of the US: "The debt level of the USA is disastrous," Mr. Juncker said. "The real problem is that no one can explain well why the euro zone is in the epicenter of a global financial challenge at a moment, at which the fundamental indicators of the euro zone are substantially better than those of the U.S. or Japanese economy." That may well be the defining moment: by now everyone knows that the global economy is a massive pyramid scheme. Yet to this point, those in control have at least kept their mouths shut. However, when in order to explain one's insolvency, those at the very top of the control pyramid have no other choice than to point out just how broke others are (when in reality it is all one big, interconnected, "globalized" and truly insolvent Ponzi), then the unwind has begin.
It just never changes:
- OBAMA AIDES SAID TO DISCUSS EMPLOYER PAYROLL TAX BREAK
- PAYROLL TAX BREAK FOR EMPLOYERS AMONG IDEAS TO BOOST HIRING
- ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERING MEASURES AS RECOVERY SLOWS
Bolded bullets aside, good luck passing another fiscal stimulus Dear President when you can't even issue debt without stealing money from government retirees.
With A 3 Week Delay, Deutsche Bank Discovers That Q2 GDP Will Collapse Following Plunge In Car ProductionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/06/2011 13:51 -0500
Nearly three weeks ago, on May 17, Zero Hedge, when analyzing the complete collapse in car and thus Industrial production made the following observations: "The immediate impact: the drop in the industrial production already
seen, but the bulk of it due to delayed aftereffects will likely impact
the May number, as the follow through from the Japanese supply chain
halt starts ringing a loud alarm bell across Wall Street. Of course,
this is another thing that all those calling for a 4% H2 GDP could have
absolutely not foreseen (and in fact it was originally supposed to be
positive for the economy, eh Deutsche Bank?). Expect to see drastic
downward cuts to May Industrial Production and next, to Q2 GDP." Fast forward to today, when, in an example of poetic irony, none other than Deutsche Bank's grossly overpaid economists also known as Shaman witchdoctors in less than polite circles, have just come out with a note titled: "Quantifying the impact of autos on Q2 real GDP" in which they, gasp, discover that "a near 30% decline in motor vehicle production is consistent with roughly a two full percentage point drag on Q2 real GDP. In our forecast, we are assuming a decline of around 1.5% because we think that we might see a small bounce in June production that will push the quarterly decline in motor vehicle production to something closer to -20%." Well, better late and always cluelessly wrong, than never... and still cluelessly wrong.
Amid the usual meandering propaganda, Tim Geithner finally catches up to Zero Hedge from February 2010: "The three largest U.S. banks account for 32 percent of total banking assets in the United States, in comparison to 46 percent for the three largest in Japan, 58 percent in Canada, 63 percent in the UK, 65 percent in France, 70 percent in Germany, 71 percent in Italy, and 76 percent in Switzerland. And total banking assets are 461 percent of GDP in the UK, 178 percent in Germany, and 820 percent in Switzerland." Supposedly this is intended to indicate just how much less concentrated the US banking system is compared to other nations: "Some argue that the U.S. financial system is too concentrated, which could promote systemic risks. But the U.S. banking system today is less concentrated than that of any other major economy. And
total banking assets in the United States today are only about the size
of U.S. GDP – much lower than in other developed economies." So just because the entire system is broken beyond repair, it makes sense to tout that the US is broken just a little bit less than everyone else? Also, where is the mention of the fact that the bulk of these balance sheets are chock full of toxic US securitized detritus and that without the US selling its worthless crap around the world, we would not be in the predicament we are in now. In the meantime, here is what Zero Hedge presented in February of last year...
The Real "Margin" Threat: $600 Trillion In OTC Derivatives, A Multi-Trillion Variation Margin Call, And A Collateral Scramble That Could Send US Treasurys To All Time Records...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2011 20:42 -0500
While the dominant topic of conversation when discussing margin hikes (or reductions) usually reverts to silver, ES (stocks) and TEN (bonds), what everyone so far is ignoring is the far more critical topic of real margin risk, in the form of roughly $600 trillion in OTC derivatives. The issue is that while the silver market (for example) is tiny by comparison, it is easy to be pushed around, and thus exchanges can easily represent the illusion that they are in control of counterparty risk (after all, that was the whole point of the recent CME essay on why they hiked silver margins 5 times in a row). Nothing could be further from the truth: where exchanges are truly at risk is when it comes to mitigating the threat of counterparty default for participants in a market that is millions of times bigger than the silver market: the interest rate and credit default swap markets. As part of Dodd-Frank, by the end of 2012, all standardised over-the-counter derivatives will have to be cleared through central counterparties. Yet currently, central clearing covers about half of $400 trillion in
interest rate swaps, 20-30 percent of the $2.5 trillion
in commodities derivatives, and about 10 percent of $30 trillion in
credit default swaps. In other words, over the next year and a half exchanges need to onboard over $200 trillion notional in various products, and in doing so, counterparites, better known as the G14 (or Group of 14 dealers that dominate derivatives trading including Bank of America-Merrill Lynch,
Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche
Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBS,
Societe Generale, UBS and Wells Fargo Bank) will soon need to post billions in initial margin, and as a brand new BIS report indicates, will likely need significant extra cash to be in compliance with regulatory requirements. Not only that, but once trading on an exchange, the G14 "could face a cash shortfall in very volatile markets when daily margins are increased, triggering demands for several billions of dollars to be paid within a day." Per the BIS "These margin calls could represent as much as 13 percent of a G14 dealer's current holdings of cash and cash equivalents in the case of interest rate swaps." Below we summarize the key findings of a just released discussion by the BIS on the "Expansion of central clearing" and also present a parallel report just released by BNY ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas who independetly has been having "bad dreams" about the possibility of what the transfer to an exchange would mean in terms of collateral posting (read bank cash payouts) and overall market stability, and why a multi-trillion margin call could result in the biggest buying spree in US Treasurys... Ever.
"Escaping The Clutches Of Financial Markets" - An Essay On Europe's Debt-For-Democracy Prepackaged BankruptcySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2011 18:46 -0500
In today's Europe, the people are no longer in control. Instead, politicians have become slaves to financial institutions and the markets. We are partly to blame -- and changes are urgently needed to nurse European democracy back to health.We are doing well. In fact, we're doing splendidly. The economy is booming, with 1.5 percent growth in the first quarter. We are as prosperous as we were before the crisis, which has finally been overcome. Congratulations are in order for everyone. The banks, Deutsche Bank above all, deserve particular congratulations. In the first quarter, it earned €3.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in pretax profits in its core business, and by the end of the year the bank will likely report a record €10 billion in pretax profits, its best results ever. That number is expected to rise to €11 billion or even €12 billion in two or three years. Less than three years after the peak of the crisis, it seems as if it never happened. That is true of the economy, but it also true of us as economic subjects. But is that all we are? No, we are also citizens and participants in a democratic society. As such, we have no reason to be celebrating. Instead, we ought to be sad and outraged. Democracy, after all, is not doing splendidly, or even well. It is gradually becoming a casualty of the financial crisis.
There is little we can add to what can only be classified as career suicide facilitated by terminal incompetence from one of CNBC's most beloved "economists" (in this case, naturally, Deutsche Bank's Joe LaVorgna), who just cut his NFP estimate from 300,000 to 160,000 in two days. From yesterday: "Our preliminary estimates were for +300k on payrolls and a three-tenths decline in the unemployment rate to 8.7%. However, in light of the softer tone of the data—particularly the inability of initial jobless claims to recover below 400k—we trimmed our projections. We lowered our May payroll estimate to +225k and raised our unemployment rate target to 8.9%." And from 10 minutes ago: "In light of the significant downside surprise in the ADP employment numbers earlier today, as well as the equally important slowdown in the ISM employment component, we are trimming our May nonfarm payroll projection to 160k from 225k as we previously estimated. We project private payrolls to increase 185k. We continue to anticipate a one-tenth decline in the unemployment rate to 8.9%."
Grains are probably going up, leading to higher liquor prices ... and wealthy people who have a taste for sake or shochu would probably pay top dollar for "clean", pre-Fukushima beverages ...
Traveling through Vietnam provided a few valuable lessons for life. You arrive, armed only with a copy of the Lonely Planet. Any map turns out to be pretty useless, as street names are frequently changed or the street layout completely altered (this is mid-1990?s). You are being inundated with offers from “cyclo-” (bicycle rickshaw) drivers. Rule number one: negotiate the fare before hopping on the seat. The Vietnamese being excellent sales people expect further price negotiations while you are riding (“Okay, price was per person” “Sir, luggage is extra”). One particular cyclo driver left me with a memorable experience. Once given his destination he claimed the hotel was closed (“I know much better hotel”). Over the entire ride he insisted my hotel was said to be either under construction, on fire or simply full. And I insisted, too, so we actually ended up at the hotel. The pure existence of the hotel should have refuted most of his statements, but did not lead to any signs of embarrassment or repentance on his part. To my surprise he followed me into my room, still trying to lure me into changing hotels (“This room not good”). Later, I found him haggling with the hotel owner over a “finder’s fee” (which was customary for cyclo drivers bringing in hotel guests). Lessons learned: (A) When you are standing inside a hotel it does exist, no matter what someone else might say. Accordingly, when a country is burdened with a debt level approaching 160% of GDP it does need a restructuring.
And some more headlines:
- EU's Juncker says IMF may not release tranche for Greece next month
- EU's Juncker says IMF needs 12-month Greek refinancing guarantee
- EU's Juncker says governments unable to make up IMF portion
Elsewhere, Greece is already planning its upcoming series of 24 hour strikes which will make sure that Greek budget deficits continue to demonstrate that only the US is worse than the Mediterranean country when it comes to balancing its books.
The Fed Does It Again: $80 Billion Secretive "Bank Subsidy" Program Uncovered, Providing Bank Loans At 0.01% InterestSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/26/2011 07:11 -0500
The Fed does it again. Following consistent allegations that the Federal Reserve operates in an opaque world, whose each and every action has only had a purpose of serving its Wall Street masters, led to repeated lawsuits which went so far as to get the Chairsatan to promise he would be more transparent, Bloomberg's Bob Ivry breaks news that between March and December 2008 the Fed operated a previously undisclosed lending program, whose terms were nothing short of a subsidy to banks. Says Ivry: "The $80 billion initiative, called single-tranche open- market
operations, or ST OMO, made 28-day loans from March through December
2008, a period in which confidence in global credit markets collapsed
after the Sept. 15 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Units of 20 banks were required to bid at auctions for the cash. They
paid interest rates as low as 0.01 percent that December, when the Fed’s
main lending facility charged 0.5 percent." 0.01% interest is also known by one other name: "outright subsidy." It doesn't get any freer than that: 0.01% interest on one month cash. Just how close to a complete implosion was the financial system if 0.5% interest seemed too high? Not surprisingly, this program was widely used: "Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc each borrowed at least $30 billion in 2008 from a Federal Reserve emergency lending program whose details weren’t revealed to shareholders, members of Congress or the public...Goldman Sachs, led by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein,
tapped the program most in December 2008, when data on the New York Fed
website show the loans were least expensive. The lowest winning
bid at an ST OMO auction declined to 0.01 percent on Dec. 30, 2008, New
York Fed data show. At the time, the rate charged at the discount
window was 0.5 percent." Yes, that Goldman Sachs. The same one that perjured itself when it said before the FCIC that it only used de minimis emergency borrowings. Just how many more top secret taxpayer subsidies will emerge were being used by the Fed to keep the kleptocratic status quo in charge?